Five UMass Students Named Among "29 Who Shine"
- The UMass System
In May 2011, the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education launched 29 Who Shine, a commencement season awards program to recognize 29 outstanding student graduates from the Commonwealth’s public higher education system. Each honoree from a community college, state university or University of Massachusetts campus is nominated by a faculty or staff member, or by a university awards committee.
UMass Award Winners:
Michael J. Nicholson, Gardner
Michael has been working as an aide in the Mayor’s Office in Gardner, MA since 2013; he has contributed to policy discussion in the state through essays in CommonWealth magazine. Michael has volunteered since high school and has been involved in “Forward in Health,” a Massachusetts non-profit that provides health care for people in Haiti. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the UMass Newman Center serving the Catholic community on campus. and has also served as a mentor to the Emerging Scholars Program for under-served and underrepresented students at UMass Amherst. He graduates with a Master’ s in public policy.
Faculty/Staff Mentor: Michael chose to recognize Alexandrina Deschamps, Associate Dean, Commonwealth Honors College. “Professor Deschamps has been the biggest resource that I have had at UMass Amherst. She has provided me with a great example of how to motivate yourself, have a strong work ethic, and how to build a strong professional network. Without Professor Deschamps, I would not be the student I am today.”
Alexander Winnett, Whitman
In addition to his studies, Alex has engaged in an impressive number of civic activities. He holds IRS certification and assists low-income and elderly citizens in Hyde Park, Mattapan and Dorchester with pro bono preparation of their taxes. He also offers this service to Def, Inc., a resource for hard-of-hearing and deaf individuals in Allston. He coordinates regional tournaments for Destination Imagination, an organization working with K-12 students in STEM and community service. Alex also volunteers with the Boston Medical Reserve Corps and on the Hazardous Material response team at Massachusetts General Hospital. He serves as president of the UMass Boston chapter of Phi Delta Epsilon, a national premedical student organization. He worked in the Laboratory of Nanomedicine and Biomaterials at Brigham & Women’s Hospital, spent 18 months as a research intern at Visterra Inc., and is currently working in a genomics laboratory at UMass Boston. His post-graduation plans include continuing medical research in Chile. He hopes to become an MD and specialize in critical care medicine.
Faculty/Staff Mentor: Alexander chose to recognize Andrew Grosovsky, Dean, College of Science and Mathematics. “Dean Andrew Grosovsky is exceptionally welcoming and supports individual students through a seemingly endless energy that he dedicates to direct encouragement and mentoring, impactful innovation and student success.”
Jacob Miller, Fairhaven
Jacob Miller was named a national Truman Scholar on the strength of his academic record and civic engagement. During his time at UMass Dartmouth, he co-sponsored a bill with State Senator Mark Montigny that allowed students on Mass Health to meet the state requirement for health insurance, saving thousands of students approximately $2000 each. Jacob also worked with businesses in New Bedford and Fall River, along with the campus food service, to make it possible for students on a meal plan to use their cards at a number of restaurants in both cities. He has been involved with the Student Government Association for all four years, first as Senator and now as Student Trustee. In addition, Jacob has served as CEO and Chair of UMass Dartmouth’s new Student Run Businesses organization since its inception. For the past three years, Jacob has brought Turbo Vote, an app-based program that simplifies the process of getting students registered to vote in local, regional and national elections, to the UMass Dartmouth campus Jacob plans to work in the Truman Scholarship program and attend law school.
Faculty/Staff Mentor: Jacob chose to recognize David Milstone, Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, Student Affairs. “Dr. Milstone has taught me the skills and given me the tools to succeed. He is always equipped with leadership books, he makes time to help me work through challenges and celebrate victories, and he has taught me what it really means to be a responsible and impactful change agent. He is one my greatest mentors and friends.”
Felipe P. Nascimento, Chelmsford
UMass Lowell student Felipe Nascimento has been an active member of the university community while at the same time co-founding and serving as chief technology officer of a successful tech startup. Three years ago at age 19, Nascimento and three childhood friends established Veloxity, which sells, leases and rents portable cellphone charging stations that can be installed permanently or temporarily at conference and event sites. To date, Veloxity has provided nearly 300 cellphone charging stations to clients around the world, serving consumers in Great Britain, Australia, Canada and the United States, as well as students and staff on the Lowell campus. The Brazilian-born Nascimento has been a member of UMass Lowell’s student chapter of the Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA) since his freshman year and credits the organization for strengthening his leadership skills. Felipe plans to grow his business in Massachusetts. His start-up, now looking for investors, is hiring employees to fill computer science, marketing and sales jobs.
Faculty/Staff Mentor: Felipe chose to recognize Ralph Jordan, Lecturer, Management. “Ralph Jordan has helped me realize that we can become anything we want in life, it just takes resiliency and perseverance. He has helped me understand more about diversity, team leadership, relationships and managing conflict. I think because of his talent and background, he provides worthy insights.”
Waldo Anthony Zamor, Shrewsbury
UMass Medical School
Waldo Zamor has demonstrated a stalwart commitment to public service. Since his arrival at UMMS, he has been involved in weekly community service projects, including working in Worcester free medical clinics and eventually taking the lead in coordinating the volunteer staff at one of the clinics. He is deeply involved in several public health initiatives of the Worcester Department of Public Health, and leads the Barbershop Health Network - an organization through which he has addressed health disparities in the city of Worcester. He also led a K-12 public school vaccination effort, in which he petitioned civic leaders at Worcester City Hall. Waldo has a demonstrated interest in population health, and serves on the advisory committee for the Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) of Central Massachusetts. As part of his medical training, Waldo volunteered with the Melanoma Foundation of New England and helped developed the “Your Skin is In” campaign, which resulted in presentations on the dangers of indoor tanning, targeted to high school and college students. He also was involved in advocacy efforts in the city of Worcester to place a ban on indoor tanning for minors and gave a presentation on this public health issue to the Worcester Board of Health. Waldo matched to a Dermatology Residency position at UMass Memorial Medical Center and will complete the first (Internal Medicine - Preliminary) year of his training at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Worcester.
Faculty/Staff Mentor: Waldo chose to recognize Michael P. Hirsh, Chief, Division of Pediatric Surgery; Director of Trauma Services; Surgeon-in-Chief, Children’s Medical Center; Professor of Pediatrics. “Having the opportunity to engage in public service is an honorable part of Commonwealth medicine. Dr. Michael Hirsh took it upon himself to ensure that my interest in engaging the underserved community had an appropriate platform. In emulating him, I not only hope to continue his tireless efforts, but to also multiply it as he did with me.”